Stitch and Mibs Save The World

Submitted into Contest #184 in response to: Start your story with someone saying “Houston, we have a problem.”... view prompt

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Speculative Mystery Science Fiction

Stitch: I will never forget you saying, "Houston, We Have A Problem." We did, but you helped me fix it. If you are reading this, I have gone Home. I appreciate your assistance and patience, as my early entries show my naivete and unpreparedness for your world. I leave this journal and hope it will inspire your writing. Thank you, my friend. "Mibs"


PREP:

A med-tech applied patches to my skin to keep my body motionless and remove memories of the experience, which they learned was most unpleasant.

The team used new coordinates and logistics to ensure I didn't end up inside a wall or at the bottom of a sea. I hate to think of what my predecessors endured, and since I have no companions or dependents, I volunteered. I may not return.

My destination sounded much like Home without our scientific and sociological advancements. My suit contained devices required to assist me in completing my contract.

ARRIVAL:

As I regained awareness and opened my eyes, I feared I'd gone blind, then realized it was after sunset. I removed my protective film, and the stench of rotting bio-matter, urine, and an acrid chemical odor burned my nose and throat.

I sat up and looked around, then tapped the wall of a large metal container filled with soft bundles. When I checked with my translator, I understood this was the correct area assigned to me. I decreased my sensitivity level and continued. The Watchers always forget to do this, and it gives them a laugh.

Tires splashing through water, a distant siren, and a car horn sound were familiar from my training. I eliminated the annoying electronic hum and had no idea how strong the smells were here.

As I stretched my muscles, my restrictive, uncomfortable clothing ripped, so I moved with increased caution. I wanted to dispose of it; however, a naked, six-foot-tall, ashen man wandering the city brings quick incarceration, and I would also lose my supplies. Some of them are dangerous to people or animals, and causing harm to any creature, sentient or not, would cause my swift termination. Watchers observe me and my actions, much like the god concept here. 

My memory held all English words and a dozen languages. However, the many slang words, movements, and hand signals eluded me. My trainers didn't think they were necessary. I needed help understanding the myriad of subtle facial expressions and local customs, and I hope the Watchers note this. I spoke only when necessary until I was more informed. Silent observation was my best teacher.

This ridiculous suit is uncomfortable and outdated. Information via the internet and other sources makes my appearance recognizable, which puts me at risk. Two films, or movies, were created about what they think we are.

Humans here have minimal night vision and perform most activities during daylight. Surveillance cameras are plentiful but easy to see and disable, and the slightest suspicious behavior alerts the police.

On my first day, two officers requested my identification, which I have. I experienced anxiety for the first time. Adapting to extreme emotions was challenging, yet it helped determine the risks in these unfamiliar surroundings. An officer inquired about my business and plans while in their city. Anxiety spiked, and I used my ability to make them experience what I wanted them to. I needed clarification on whether this worked.

 Perhaps the Watchers saved me, or it was serendipity because a dark-skinned young man in a red shirt and blue pants approached and pointed at me, saying, "There you are! The Con opens soon, and I told you not to wear your con costume outside the hotel! Get a move on!" He looked at the police, adding, "He's such a newbie!" The officers shrugged and left.

I followed him into a green space with open-sided tents and tables. Each tent contained fabrics, pottery, food, and flowers. Loud music hurt my ears, and I diminished my sense of sound again. He continued walking, but as I passed near one tent, a large woman spoke in a thunderous voice, "Come here, handsome, you need more comfortable clothes! Go ahead, try on whatever you want. Call me Sadie!" She swept her hand over her wares. She gasped and narrowed her eyes as I pulled on a pink shirt that read BETTY BOOP! over my suit coat.

"What the hell are you doing?" She looked amused.

"I don't like being stared at."

Sadie nodded and said, "Well, I wouldn't wear that then, Honey."

I removed it and felt another small rip in my suit. She put two black shirts into a paper sack and handed them to me. She eyed my clothing with interest and said, "Say, where did you get that outfit? It looks vintage." She reached up and touched my hat, then my suit coat, and I backed away. 

"Oh, honey, I'm sorry. Are you one of those autistics?"

I said nothing.

"Your duds are interesting, vintage? They look to be from the fifties or early sixties. We could trade your jacket for the shirts?"

"No."

"It's okay. I'll go easy on you, give me forty dollars, and throw these loafers in. You look like a size ten, so these will fit."

The young man who'd saved me from the police returned and said, "Hey, Bro! She's ripping you off! All of her stuff is used or used up. Give her a ten!"

"Get out of here, you little shit! Go back to your own table!" Sadie's voice hurt my ears, despite my lowered volume.

He laughed, held up a finger, and walked away, motioning for me to follow. "Come on, I'll get you fixed up right."

I gave Sadie a ten and followed. He was short, so I slowed my pace. He looked up and said, "She's okay but takes advantage. I'm Stitch." He raised his palm, so I did too, and he laughed and tapped his to mine. He stopped, leaned closer to me, and whispered, "Are you one of those Men in Black dudes?"

I remained silent.

I wanted to leave this place with too many loud voices and music, brightly colored clothing, and shiny metal and glass object strobing in the sunlight. Some odors were pleasant, but others made me gag. The scent of some foods was so sweet the back of my throat itched. A stench of rotting flesh came from a truck that said: HOT DOGS! in flashing red letters. I wondered if they meant actual canines.

Many sounds also confused me. I didn't know what tones and accents were: happy, sad, or angry. Too many hurt me, so I turned them off.

The first time I experienced hunger came when I encountered a table filled with fruit and vegetables. My favorites now are avocado, watermelon, cucumbers, bananas, and yams (you must cook yams to make them edible.) Corn made me uneasy, and it seemed unnatural, and I detected toxins. I enjoyed the lemonade after adding a large amount of water to it. The water here varies in color, flavor, toxins, and nutrients, so I bought it in bottles.

Stitch stopped at a tent covered with books and maps. He called out to a woman in a green and yellow dress with long, dark hair. "Hey, Ma! Come meet my new friend!"

Ma turned, and her eyes opened wide. She touched the fingers of her right hand to her forehead and chest, then from one shoulder to the other. I repeated this, and she looked less startled. "Son? who is this man?"

Stitch looked at me. "Oh, he's ah, um, a priest! He doesn't speak much English, and he's from another place. You know, where everyone is very white?"

"Utah?"

"No, another country."

His name is um . . .Mibs." Stitch looked at me and closed one eye. "He's lost and needs some street clothes. Right, Mibs?"

I nodded.

I found the words and said, "Buenos Dias!" I made eye contact to make her more at ease. And she smiled and nodded. "Take him home and give him some of your brother's clothes."

"Great idea Ma. I know he won't mind." Stitch looked at me and said, "He's in the army."

We walked two blocks, climbed four sets of stairs, and stopped at the door marked 42. Stitch used three keys, each for a similar lock, and I followed. He said, "No matter how crumbled, there's no place like home!" It did not look crumbled. A sitting area and kitchen were all in one space, separated by a counter. The walls in the front room were yellow, and the kitchen was bright orange, which caused me unease until I adapted. Home uses muted grays, blues, and greens. The lower classes prefer reds and yellows, which are thought over-stimulate us.

Stitch pointed to a sofa covered with woven blankets. A green chair faced the window over the street. "Thirsty? Want a snack?"


I nodded. My stomach made unfamiliar sounds, which meant it was empty. Stitch brought me a glass of water that smelled and tasted toxic, but I drank it. He handed me a long yellow vegetable from a bowl, and I bit into it and did not like the tough, bitter food. Stitch took it, removed the covering handed me the soft, sweet insides. "That is a banana. Good for you." I examined it and its thick covering.

"Fuck, Dude! You really are from space! I knew it! I learn all about you guys on podcasts. Linda Moulton Howe and that guy with crazy hair are my favorites. They tell it is."

I didn't tell him I was not from space, but this planet, just a different time.

 "It's okay, Mibs. I love this shit, and I'll help you if you come in peace." He laughed, but his voice quivered.

"I do."

"Okay then, let's find you some blendin'- in clothes. My brother is shorter than you, not as thin. Come in here."

We entered a room with a bed on the opposing walls. Large pictures of nude women covered one wall where Stitch pulled clothes from a tiny area called a closet and tossed them onto the bed.

"Try these. I have to go help Ma tear down and take all the stuff to the storage unit. Stay here and pick out new clothes. Oh, what do you want for dinner?"

I pointed to the banana. We eat a prepared mixture at Home, and I'd learned about the food here.

"Another vegan! I'll get some more fruit and veg."

Stitch pointed to his side of the room, where a poster above his bed had a photo of a hovering disc, and I read: I Want To Believe, which I found curious. Piles of books covered every surface, and papers surrounded his computer. It was so different from his brother's side.

"Help yourself to my clothes, too, if you need them."

I read some of the papers or printouts and found them fascinating. Stitch was a prolific writer, and I picked up other documents telling him that although his stories were well-written and thoughtful, but were not suited for their publication.

I chose a pair of pants with many pockets that Stitch told me were 'cargo pants.' They needed to be larger to hold cargo. I used one of the black shirts from Sadie but had to keep my black shoes.

####

I'd planned to go to the location, take care of my task, and leave. It was a simple job, but it would save thousands of lives and prevent the destruction of a large area of the United States and most humans.

When Stitch and Ma were asleep. The cargo pants held my info and supplies. I walked softly to the living room, but Stitch was behind me as I prepared to open the door and leave the apartment.

"Yo! Where ya' going in the middle of the night? Is it time for "Houston We Have A Problem?"

I turned but did not respond.

"You're going to do your thing here? Right?" He said this while pulling on his pants. "I'm coming with you; you might need help."

"No, you aren't supposed to know as much as you do. You might cause problems."

He ignored me. "How far from here? Are you going to take a taxi? A bus?" He pulled on his shoes and shirt. "This could be great stuff for my stories! He grabbed a paper pad and pencil from the counter.

"I'll walk."

"Come on, I have the van. Why walk and risk being stopped by the cops this late at night?"

I opened the door and walked down the three flights of stairs, and Stitch was right behind me. I began walking north, and he walked south, so I figured he decided against helping. Then a few minutes later, I heard a horn honk, and there he was, in his white van, rusted all around the edges, and a blue replacement door.

"Come on, Mibs, get in!" Then he honked the horn again, and lights came on in a nearby apartment window. I got in the van and wondered what the watchers thought.

I never told you, Stitch, what I did that night or why because I feared the consequences. But I will tell you now that I am going Home.


After you dropped me off and I convinced you to wait for me, I cut through five blocks to the target's Home. I was prepared for their large, loud dog and gave him a treat that put him to sleep for at least an hour.

I climbed over the fence and entered the back door of the garage. The vehicle I checked was the correct one, a very old worn Chevy. I disconnected the fuel pump and disabled it, and replaced it to ensure it appeared as a typical part failure. The wire I found was nearly worn through and severed it. The owner replaced and repaired essential parts at the local power plant. He had to be delayed in a way that raised no questions but caused no harm. I had to make sure of this but subtly. If he had gone to his job that day, he would have made an error and caused a massive power outage lasting for days.

Investigate a similar occurrence in June 1965 in the eastern area of the US and Canada. Our messenger helped restore power just in time to avert serious consequences. We failed to prevent the Fukushima event but were able to minimize the effects.

There are no coincidences, my friend. Had the worker I detained gone to his job, he would have made a grave mistake leading to the most significant power failure since June 1965. This time, the outcome would lead to a series of events that end most human life on our planet. An event that would affect the dim future for humans for hundreds of years. The release of deadly diseases from an experimental facility that, over decades, would cause infertility, slow-spreading cancer without a cure, and eventually, a war. Life on earth is delicate and tenuous.

Write your books and stories as fiction. They will become popular and give your generation food for thought, as the cliché goes. Your stories may just save our world.












February 10, 2023 03:22

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9 comments

Helen A Smith
08:35 Feb 13, 2023

I liked the idea behind this. I particularly liked the ending where the MC’s true purpose came to life and I was captivated by his experiences along the way. Well drawn characters and I couldn’t help feeling a fondness for Mibs.

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14:45 Feb 13, 2023

Thank you. I'm fond of Mibs too.

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Viga Boland
15:46 Feb 11, 2023

Patricia…you simply amaze me. So prolific! I look forward to reading your submissions each week and you never disappoint. Reading your stories and others from those I’m following has finally given me the courage to submit one myself this week. Hope it doesn’t end up being a one time thing LOL. Good luck with this one. Love the unspoken social commentary. So clever.

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17:31 Feb 11, 2023

Thank you so much! It makes me so happy when someone gets a bit of joy or inspiration! Yes, please submit a story! What have you got to lose? Your support means so much to me. xo

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Viga Boland
20:07 Feb 11, 2023

Patricia…all your writings inspire me 😊 As for submitting a story, as I mentioned above, I did submit one this week. I hope you find a minute to read it. Wendy left me most encouraging comments on it but I’d love a few more. Since you follow me, if you click on my name, my story is showing. It’s titled “Life is what happens when things go awry.” I hope I’m allowed to do what I just did. 😂 Do you know if that’s ok?

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21:31 Feb 11, 2023

Great!

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Wendy Kaminski
18:15 Feb 10, 2023

Very cool, Patricia! I loved the perspective of this, and the way you integrated the prompt. "Silent observation was my best teacher" - excellent line of wisdom, very believable from a more-intelligent race perspective. Also I loved "You know, where everyone is very white?" "Utah?" ROFL! :) I saw one possible error (though you may still be editing your story, same as me): ["]I wanted to leave this place, too many loud voices and music, ... I think the parenthesis was unintended. Thanks for the enjoyable read!

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22:23 Feb 10, 2023

Thank you so much - and I appreciate your proofing for me!! I was going nuts running through Gammarly and then ProWrite, and they both kept finding 'issues' - mostly with my double spacing at the end of sentences and commas - I spend more time editing than writing! I kept thinking of the 'lizard people' when I read your story - fun.

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Wendy Kaminski
23:38 Feb 10, 2023

heheh :D My pleasure, on the edits, and please feel free to point out any of mine anytime! :)

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